FAN Launches Online Resource Regarding Financial Crisis

HNP Communications Franciscan World

WASHINGTON, DC — To help Franciscans better understand, discuss, pray for, and advocate toward a better economic future, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) has rolled out a new “mini-campaign,” an online resource that highlights Franciscan spiritual perspectives and local response to the deepening worldwide financial crisis.

Called “Franciscan and the Economy: Growing Rich in the Sight of God (Luke 12:21b),” the mini-campaign invites others to join the economic conversation through prayer, reflection, local actions and discussions.

Two-Week Campaign
The two-week campaign, which began Oct. 14 on the FAN Web site, encourages FAN members to participate in discussion and prayer regarding the financial crisis, according to Russell Testa, FAN’s executive director and director of Holy Name’s Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

“In the presidential debates, it has been clear that financial and economic issues are of primary concern,” said Testa. “The nation’s focus on this issue is heightened by the fact that the news is constantly filled with images of decline and recession. This trend can leave us fearful and uncertain about our future.”

“All of us are aware of the economic crisis impacting our world,” he added. “It is a complex reality of credit markets, mortgage bundling, government policy, job changes and much more. We may not fully understand the intricacies of the economic struggle, but we do know that many people in the U.S. and in the entire world are suffering.  In the midst of this crisis, we are invited to more fully engage with our Franciscan heritage and search for short-term and long-term economic and spiritual strategies to help.”

FAN has been working to bring the Franciscan tradition into the conversation. FAN members are encouraged to participate in an experience of prayer, reflection, action and advocacy regarding our current world economic crisis, according to Testa. “This process allows us an opportunity to step back and deepen the dialogue with our own Franciscan spiritual heritage as we search for shared insights and direction.”

How Members Can Participate
The FAN Web site offers a four-part approach:

  • Prayers for those who suffer from the state of the economy and a search for insights into how FAN might be of greatest help during this time;
  • Formation-reflection articles presenting ideas from the Franciscan tradition on the perspective we bring to the issue;
  • Online discussion groups through which FAN members can explore these ideas;
  • Public action for, and with, those in need — a chance to learn how better to “incarnate” Franciscan heritage;
  • Advocacy activities, to communicate to elected officials what Franciscans see as steps toward economic justice in our current crisis.

The Web site offers a reflection from FAN Director of Development and Communications Peter Sloan, “Praiseworthy Exchange.” His reflection quotes St. Clare of Assisi: “What a great and praiseworthy exchange, to leave the things of time for eternity, to choose the things of heaven for the goods of earth, to receive the hundred fold in place of one, and to possess a blessed eternal life.”

“Growing Rich” by Larry Janezic, OFM, discusses the Franciscan principles that are brought to the development of economic policy.

“Serving the Christ Before Us” by Testa, discusses the actions Franciscans take with and for those in need.

A Discussion Groups page facilitates conversation with others, while a Tell-a-Friend feature allows others to join FAN advocacy efforts, thus giving greater voice to Franciscan principles in crafting public policy.

The Web site said, “We are in a troubling time. We, as Franciscans and Franciscan-hearted people, have something critical to offer our world in need.”

This week’s action on the mini-campaign’s Week Two encourages FAN members to invite others by forwarding the Website address to at least five persons. The Website allows members to customize their message.

The Web site said: “This campaign provides an exciting opportunity to do what Franciscans and Franciscan-hearted people are called to do — be contemplative actors. We must be persons, inspired by Jesus, who move our faith into effective action for social transformation.”

FAN Launches Electronic Newsletter
Also new this month is FAN’s electronic newsletter. Debuting appropriately on the feast of Saint Francis, the e-letter allows FAN to say in contact with its members, at least on a monthly basis. The first issue said, “It is our desire that these efforts will strongly express our unique Franciscan voice for spiritual and social transformation. We sincerely hope that you will take a moment to review this progress and discern how you might be involved in this important work.”

The inaugural issue discussed FAN’s concern about the economy, and efforts the organization has taken in legislative arenas. It also discussed technological back-end steps FAN had taken to become more user-friendly on its Website and databases, and with online advocacy tools.

To register for the eletter, click here.

—  Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.